Chelsea: Courtois can play in Champions League

Chelsea have said that as far as they are concerned there is nothing stopping Thibaut Courtois playing for Atletico Madrid against the Blues in the Champions League, Sky Sports has reported.

It had been suggested that the terms of Courtois’ loan to Atletico from Chelsea said that the goalkeeper could only play if Atletico paid Chelsea a significant sum of money. The sides were duly drawn against each other in the tournament’s semi-finals on Friday, while UEFA released a statement warning against any attempt to block Courtois from playing.

“In response to media reports referring to the situation of Club Atletico de Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, UEFA would like to reiterate its position,” the statement said.

“Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match.

“Furthermore, any attempt to enforce such a provision would be a clear violation of both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations and would therefore be sanctioned accordingly.”

Chelsea’s chief executive, Ron Gourlay, has added that there is no impediment to Atletico Coach Diego Simeone selecting Courtois. “The loan was arranged back at the start of the season,” Gourlay said.

“It’s quite simple – Thibaut can play against Chelsea. That was never in doubt. Regarding the UEFA statement, we’ll evaluate that in due course. As far as Chelsea’s concerned, we’ve complied with the loan rules.”

It has been speculated that the clubs could cut a deal that would see Courtois sit out the game but pave the way for a fourth loan spell at Vicente Calderon, according to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.

Courtois moved to Stamford Bridge from Genk in 2011 but has never played for Chelsea – he was immediately loaned to Atletico, where he has remained ever since. Atletico are currently top of La Liga and beat Barcelona to reach the Champions League semi-final, while Chelsea dispatched Paris Saint-Germain.

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